Fresh Air and Blueberries

Every once in a while a simple moment takes me away to a former occasion where I savoured the remarkably familiar nuances of life.  It just so happens these heart-stirring occurrences have been happening a little more frequently lately, and they’re rather fortuitous.  There’s a good chance I’m walking around grinning like an idiot, but it’s true what they say about east coasters; Everybody is really nice here, and so far they’re all smiling back at me.

The air…  It doesn’t matter where we go the air smells pure and clear.  Kenny had a little laugh the other day, but I even commented on the freshness of the air at the Wal-Mart parking lot.  It’s the ocean, I’m sure.  However my most beloved scent in the air is near the forest where I can smell the earth, the trees, the moss, the future growth, and all that has passed.  This fragrance bridges time and swells my soul.

When these subtle moments come together they embody the perfect day, and I surrender in complete contentment.  One of these instances was Saturday, and after having a nice morning at home, a stroll and lunch at the farmer’s market, we went blueberry picking.  There’s a small farm just down the road and we spent a glorious hour indulging in the air, combining a favourite activity with a favourite food.

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The very best way to eat blueberries, in my opinion is fresh.  Straight off the vine, there’s nothing like it.  I tried my best to fill my basket and not my mouth, but these were the best blueberries I’ve ever had.  We managed to collect 8.5 pounds of berries, and Kenny won the competition collecting about three-quarters of a pound more than me.  No idea how that could have happened, but who really is the winner here?

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We took our bounty home, and combined with our farmer’s market haul we were feeling pretty proud of our farm-to-table goodies.  Inspired by the season, and the local harvest happening all around us I sought out for a uniquely Nova Scotian recipe to showcase our blueberry yield.

The answer was immediately obvious, and something I have never heard of before.  A lovely little dessert that combines blueberries and scones in one pretty dish, A Blueberry Grunt.  Yep, that’s what it’s called.  I’m not really sure why, but some say it the noise the berries make from underneath the biscuits.  I don’t care what it’s called, it’s delicious!

Nova Scotia Blueberry Grunt

Ingredients

4 cups blueberries

zest of one lemon

2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice

3/4 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp nutmeg

2 heaping tbsp lavender buds

2 cups flour

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup butter

1 egg

1 tbsp honey

1/2 cup warm milk

Preheat oven to 400′ F.  In a 10″ cast iron skillet or favourite baking dish of your own combine blueberries, lemon juice and zest, sugar, nutmeg and half of the lavender.  Mix well and place in oven.  It’s a good idea to put an old cookie sheet on the rack below the skillet to ensure an easy clean up in case it spills over the sides.   Bake for 20 minutes.

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While the berries are cooking combine flour, baking powder, salt, and 3/4 tbsp lavender in food processor and blend well.   Cut butter into 1″ cubes and pulse in food processor until pieces are roughly pea size.  If you don’t have a food processor you can combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl and cut in butter with pastry blender or a couple of butter knives.

In a measuring cup combine warm milk, egg, and honey.  Mix well.  Blend into the dry ingredients with the food processor on low, and just long enough to combine.

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Remove berries from the oven.  With your hands freely form biscuits, and place directly into dish on berries.  I chose to make five, but you could do several smaller ones and adjust your baking time accordingly.  Sprinkle reserved lavender buds on the biscuits and bake for 20 minutes.

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Your kitchen will smell amazing for the next 20 minutes or so, and when it came out of my oven I placed it by an open window to snap a few pics and it felt like something out of a fairytale.  You can serve this hot or cold, and it goes great with ice cream!

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This recipe was adapted from Taste of Nova Scotia.

In 2009 in there were 38,000 acres of wild blueberries in production for about 1,000 farms province wide.  At that time there was 74 growers of high bush blueberries, and many more slated for production.  We have a handful of high bush blueberries operations within a short distance of the house, and several more throughout the valley.  We chose Blueberry Land for its close proximity, but also because of the no spray and pesticide policy they adhere to.  We’ve picked wild blueberries many times before, but this was the first time that we’ve picked high bush blueberries, and collecting them was much easier than we were accustomed to.  It’s safe to say we’ll be back for lots more to keep in our freezer for a winters worth of berries!

One Comment on “Fresh Air and Blueberries

  1. Ohhhh man! I’m salivating over here in Onterrible! Thank you for making me feel like I was with you picking, baking, and smelling the fresh air AND the grunt! I’m hooked on Teo Birds, One Stone!👏🏻❤️💋🙏🏻

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